About this Show

Book TV

Louisa Thomas Education. (2011) Louisa Thomas ('Conscience Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family - A Test of Will and Faith in World War I.')

NETWORK

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 100 (651 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Norman Thomas 5, Princeton 4, Us 4, Obama 4, John Reid 4, U.s. 3, United States 3, London 2, Europe 2, America 2, Chicago 2, Scotland 2, Ohio 1, Pearl Harbor 1, The Vietnam 1, East Harlem 1, Hungarian 1, New York City 1, University Chicago 1, Iraq 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Book TV    Louisa Thomas  Education.  (2011) Louisa Thomas ('Conscience  
   Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family - A Test of Will...  

    July 3, 2011
    6:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

6:00pm
part of the business. >> how would you like to see the google books supplement end? >> happily. i don't know if i want to comment as a publisher. i think what they want to do to make books available is very important, but also critically important authors and publishers are compensated for intellectual property. i don't think i would comment beyond that. >> big publisher of poems repress, thank you for a few minutes
6:01pm
. . who remembers as a girl she lived next door to a lithuanian jewish family. she recalls she would call for young josephine to turn the light on for her. 60 years later you could hear the pride in her voice being called upon for that task. it's probable families living in our tenement open until the year 1935 discussed or of mitered norman thomas.
6:02pm
tonight we are pleased to discuss his life and work with louisa thomas d. author of conscience. she will be signing copies of the book after the topic and keep in mind when you buy a book your supporting the author, the publisher and the museum. if you choose to become a member this evening, we will give you a complimentary copy of conscience. tonight's conversation is led by john mechem, executive editor and vice president of random house. a former editor of newsweek and pulitzer prize-winning author and commentator on politics,?g?g history and religious base in?gg america and is editor of our jeg public media and contributor tog the pbs television newsmagazine need to know. after the conversation you have the opportunity to ask questions, and since we are to do the ka recording twice presentation on booktv you have to ask your question from the microphone right here. we won't be able to accept questions from your seat. now please welcome our guest. [applause]ç
6:03pm
>> thank you very much to theç tenant be museum which has axx relatively short time becomey such an important part of the city. you hear a lot about it and in the american south where i come from and their stuff is not everything in the tenement, and so you can see what it used to be like but think you for your hospitality, and congratulations on the wonderful book, a deeply researched and engaged written account and i want to start with some questions and read a couple things and then there will be a socialist jeopardy. to keep her going.
6:04pm
we will start with why this book now. >> an american family in a time of war when the country cultural political and economic and social upheaval and hundred years ago but different today than moral or one and it did at the beginning. most americans, the scene this with federal government going to the post office and the 1914, 1917 happens and millions of men
6:05pm
being drafted, millions of men see their government working in a much different light, and forced to reckon with questions of what is the obligation to the country as one brothers obligation to another as sons and daughters in a way that there just hasn't 20 years before. of course these questions didn't just arrived. they were planted in the few decades that have come before. i think it's hard for us to realize just how the changes are in the beginning of the 20th century but at the same time we face these all the time. we are a country of war and also debating questions to what
6:06pm
extent should we be committing our resources and citizens' lives and money and time and the government and citizens, and these are perennial questions and the way -- because the changes in the kind of transition for violence literally and figuratively are in a way i think really brought them to the floor, and looking at the way that they did that i think we can see how these questions still live in our mind. >> when you think about the era from tiahrt to willson at the turn of the century after a more rapid industrialization in major progressive movement that gives
6:07pm
the social legislation that is ratified and increased by the new deal and endorsed in some form until this hour you have the service system that actually engaged the world population when conflict came up. would you say that must be the most striking difference in terms of the issue that got all four of these brothers involved? it was not as though today we get to choose whether or not we are interested in serving event was not so much a choice and you can address it much more directly with a conscientious decision. do you fight, do you not fight, do you find ways to serve, is the cause just, do you think that these brothers given some of search police at the context would have dealt with the same
6:08pm
issues? >> that's an excellent question. i think the fact is the draft did exist in that time and was certainly something that forced the father to reckon with the conflict that young people simply just do not have to today. i never once wondered if i was going to have to work for my country. it's just not something that has ever crossed my mind. i think they saw the war was a very real and it required a kind of engagement and commitment that surpassed -- norman thomas for it simple didn't actually have to fight. he was over the draft age. he was a clergyman.
6:09pm
he had a family depending on him. he didn't have to engage in some sort of process of whether orv@@ not to the country should be doing what it's doing. she chose to come and she chose to because so many people didn't have a choice, and he thought there was something odd about that and the phrase selective service there's an interesting story behind the decision to call it selective service. when the united states went to war there was some debate over whether or not there was the draft comes some debate over whether or not in this amazing story even after the war relation when a congressman is, you know, what resources are going to have to command, and
6:10pm
then from the soldiers the congressman says my god, you're not, are you? and nobody corrected him. as late as mid april he asked him the question why they were passing, why the committee was passing -- rejecting the draft and the measure. there was a man named george creel who was a journalist and after his decision to go to war he set up the committee on public information and -- >> he doesn't sound like one. [laughter] >> and one of the things for calling it selective service because selective, you know,
6:11pm
appeals to the kind of principal of choice, suggests sacrifice, they didn't want to call the conscription, and the speech when she announced and said in no way conscription isn't on willing. it is rather -- i don't know those exact phrase but it is the decision of people who volunteered in math. the studies implement the draft and said you have a choice you can enroll, join a group called the impleader were you will be deemed to have enlisted. [laughter] >> let's talk about the brothers' both in the context of the beginning of your story.
6:12pm
who are they, where are they, what's coming on? >> norman thomas is the oldest. all brothers went to princeton. actually, had pretty much the same background. they were the son of a presbyterian minister who was pretty conservative and very much of the widespread progress of ethos that held that times are getting better and norman went to princeton where he loved debate and the college professor. afterwards he became a minister. he actually went to work right across the island where he was exposed to some pretty extreme degradation although that's not really what radicalized him. there was the movement at side called the southern gospel
6:13pm
movement which held that the point of christianity was not but to establish the king of god on earth and very much mainline protestant thinking. so, young men coming out of ther middle class so they felt they were obligated. he then went to the seminary which is a pretty liberal seminary and a fancy church, looks like he's living a very comfortable life, and he and his wife decided to move to east harlem and work in the tenements you will see cotillions and
6:14pm
hungarian, those are the two largest immigrant populations. at that time the country is just coming off the explosion of immigrants than the second-generation americans, anv the change and he started oncu that half. while the second brother became an engineer, quite conservative, very happy lived a good life and
6:15pm
perfectly victorian young men she enlisted right away in the army. and if her brother was much more tortured. and this kind of effort they tended to make and were not doing anything and were not hypocritical. when the war broke out in europe and over the projection was and they're came back over the united states into the war and constantly have to push the boundaries to show that he was being treated on the self principles and keeping some kind
6:16pm
of lights and in this young goose was less sure what to do. traveled to princeton, kind of didn't know what he wanted to do, thought about being a farmer, a missionary. >> you have these three mighty oaks in front of you to get down a bit in the morning. [laughter] >> his mother wrote him a letter stating why do you sink there's no place in princeton for a boy such as you? [laughter] he wasn't so sure that it was a good idea but he was also not ready to go to prison, so a lot more like most of us. >> and their must have mother. >> there was and she was extraordinary. he she had her own extraordinary cast. she had grown up and missionaries and then her father
6:17pm
the first presidents at one of the colleges in the reconstruction south. but she had a very conventional life in ohio, a lot of kids and involved in church causes she was actually part of -- the most interesting person to me in some ways because she really struggled to negotiate between her children, even as her views were being challenged by them. >> so talk about norman and walk us through their real crises the brothers faced as the question on a surface. >> norman became a have pacifist involved in some organizations,
6:18pm
millo tourism are the most prominent ones, and that was sort of the very nascent structure after the war. the reconciliation and then they went through the political channels and also organizations, and he didn't believe in politics, very metal hit it and he had a kind of streak in him and he decided to come back to the united states and take a stand while the call for freedom kind of back-and-forth and he wanted to be a fighter pilot, very adventuress.
6:19pm
>> arthur was my favorite. i identified most with him. we could do well to read this graph. >> it can be a problematic notion. it can begin% of colleges and be used to justify any action, a group of germans that predated the nazi title for conscience. it can encourage learning of hamlet or to thyself be true. it can conflict with responsibility which sometimes means it's not perfectly right.
6:20pm
>> how did that wonderful conscience played out for norman? >> it's funny because after norman established himself as the party daniel velte wrote an essay about him and included the famous distinction between the ethics of responsibility and he thought they should have the efiks of conscience. i don't think that's fair. i think he was more alert to the compromises of the government, and i think of the brother is
6:21pm
dangerous as thinking too much about how do we trigger instead of obligations you have to other people and that was something that he was at that time to read them after they had gone on a hunger strike in which he said the challenge is to live among other people and fight to make sure what they have the opportunities you have so they can be true to themselves, and he basically had -- she was coming out of the background in which the ultimate statement of ethics comes about as a balancing act. they talked about freedom of
6:22pm
conscience, so the idea of the freedom of conscience is that everybody -- you cannot -- it was something they were never able to and they could never solve the problems that you had to engage in them. >> what norman thomas legacy be the persistence of the culture of the freedom of conscience or is it more specifically one towards what we would think of was non-violence and attempting to make gentle the life of this world really avoiding violence all costs? at all costs, and i'm going to come back to that. >> he did not remain a pacifist.
6:23pm
i don't see why you also have(w schoomaker the even worse treatment. i think that he believes freedom of conscience meant in part repudiation of violence because what is not imposing -- >> well, there's defense. islamic defense, too. >> there's the whole world war ii thing. >> but i also think that he is the civil rights movement involved in nuclear disarmament and i would hope speak to both as an issue. >> his pacifism was suspended after pearl harbor.
6:24pm
she had seen too much not for the fascism in this country and he worried that in light of the great depression and in light of what they saw the country would lead to the fascism here. we can't believe that it's the greatest generation. you know. >> there was a lot of fear. >> the one story i grew up knowing about norman thomas is partly apocryphal but involved in conversation with franklin roosevelt, you want to tell the story?[[ó[ó
6:25pm
>> one of norman's causes in thó 1930's he was working on behalfw sharecroppers in the self being murdered and other things are happening to them and there were drive-by shootings and unbelievable situations and when they try to unionize it got much, much worse and by the men carrying shotguns and you've got to do something, you've got to do something, and he goes and says you've got to do something this is just unconscionable. and he says you know what,
6:26pm
norman, i'm a better politician than you are. nine of these people and they're doing good work done there and it's just going to take some time. and he says it can't wait, you know, and this is the response, you can't wait, you can't let this go on, this is the response to what was happening in the south. ultimately things did change and it did take a lot of time but may be in the 1930's and the social climate, economic climate wouldn't allow for roosevelt to come in the national guard and change things. they had to wait 30 years. a lot of bad things happened throughout these years when it comes to racial violence. >> one of the things was
6:27pm
awakened when eleanor brought him to the part of new york, and in so far as he was able to project those values domestically. where do you come out on the issue of the limit of politics but the demand of justice? no one would argue now that the reconstruction because of the institution because of jim-crow, because of the robber barons in the north and the economic oppression many social reforms should have happened early and many social reforms that should happen right now will not because there's another man in the white house believes he's a better position and that tends to be an occupational hazard. where do you come out?
6:28pm
were their moments where individuals to make this difference? >> if she were not married to the man at the white house -- [laughter] i think she's one of those individuals who made a difference actually and fdr was, to back and he was pushing her and she was pushing him and it's much more organic thin you can point to someone and say here's the difference but i do think that politics is made of painful compromises all the time. nothing works according to plan
6:29pm
and everything has its net and the others suggest that it got into a fight about politics and don't understand political risk making don't you understand that the st task to respond and in the democracy over the responsibility -- wrote back we are not model headed. we are doing all sorts of things. you know, do i think that norman was an effective socialist or effective politician as a socialist? i think fdr was right, he was a better politician than norman. do i think there was a place for
6:30pm
norman in the political system? yeah. absolutely. to might think that there should be more of those? i think so. i think that the health of a democracy requires a kind of open exchange of ideas, and the kind of battles that he and norman and his friends during world war face about doing reform from the inside or the outside, try to get a seat at the table, do you -- what is the best way to get your point across, the message across to do justice. we just maybe aren't as noisy about them as people once were. >> that's a question i want to ask about generational responsibility. do you think that you're great-grandfather's generation -- did the media and political
6:31pm
landscape give him a bigger voice as a socialist candidate, as a figure almost always of dissent move than we currently are able for whatever reason to give the voices outside theç mainstream? or does the, you know, your generation has created this thing called the internal web, and is that going to open this up? >> i think it's say -- the internet is opening up and also drawling out. so it's hard to say for sure. i do think that you know, the american political system doesn't allow for ford parties very easily. and actually did a little bit more so in norman's time because
6:32pm
socialism was a viable idea actually in 1912 using 6% of the vote. now if anyone calls themselves a socialist the would be, you know , considered evil actually were not see or whatever. >> or the recipient of a wall street bailout. >> or the recipient of a wall street bailout, so yeah. i think that there's a little bit more generational complacency than there was in his generation may be because, you know, we don't have to go to war, maybe because it was just a smaller world, you know, you could get access to the president, it was just easier. >> it was smaller, but we now know -- we now know the things
6:33pm
you don't want out certainlyñ have a tendency to get out.y why isn't there in this highlyñ educated, highly affluent generation of which you're a member a higher level of social engagements in a way that we would recognize as a tendency in level from the early part of the century? >> i hear people say that there is more than, you know, more than meets the eye. i think that we could make the argument that people are involved in kind of community projects to a degree that has, you know, they might not be as interesting in the politics that they are interested in starting companies that might have renewable energy impacts or things like that, which have
6:34pm
sort of like social ends. i think that one of your early questions is part of the answer. there's not a kind of demand upon my age immigration that there once was. there's a draft. evin taxes are not very high. there's not three much asked of us and in a way we are sort of reverting back to your only interaction with federal government is the post office. the dmv. >> your passport, yeah. >> so, i mean, i don't think -- i'm not saying we should have a draft again. >> i think we should. >> well that's a different debate. that's actually an interesting debate i think. there is compelling arguments made for it. we ask a lot of our servicemen
6:35pm
and the recruitment process is kind of marley. i think that there should be more equitable sacrifice made across the population. >> reading the book i kept coming back to hearing these brothers thoroughly engaged he electrified political time projection of force, a president who had trouble with congress but managed to suspend civil liberties and to get his way to sound somewhat familiar. but one difference that kept coming back to my mind was because there is not a draft, because there is not the possibility that the
6:36pm
upper-middle-class can be in harm's way it all becomes slightly academic. i would just suggest if we have with our approach is at the vietnam draft with all the exceptions to conserve nationally, at home as opposed to militarily come all that, if that happens, is their anyone who plausibly believes we would have been in iraq past 2,004 or we would still be in afghanistan >> that's what i just said. this is a debate we can actually have because i think it's, you know, you can make an argument, at the same time i -- it's the kind of academic question. i don't feel it's going to happen. >> but your great-grandfather would say we have to have these. islamic academic arguments, g maybe. >> don't go pleading fdr on me.
6:37pm
>> yeah, you know, one of the things to remember about the brothers and looking at the story is valuable is they were really working out how to answer some of these questions and there was an urgency because the new questions and they felt them and these are questions we just don't feel the kind of tension between the responsibilities of individual, responsibility as a citizen, efiks versus morality, the sound academic terms but@ when it came down to it's like are you going to die for your country, are you going to change society in such a way that it's not as equal or unjust we have huge structural problems in thiñ country. our property right is like 22%,k second in mexico.@l
6:38pm
it's just there's some really good things going on and they are not questions that most of us we could and think about. i certainly don't and i don't have to. i'm lucky i got to live my life and pursue my opportunities and do what i want to do. >> i bring this up because i find the book a compelling -- the book raises these issues in a compelling and accomplice it way which is a very difficult thing to do, and anyone reading it now will find quite resident anything that is going on and on the folding of around the news now and forever more.eñ i'm going to ask you to read this and then we will take
6:39pm
questions from you all. >> read that from the quotation in the letter. >> you're right or wrong he loved his family. 1941 while norman was publicly speaking out against the entry into world war ii, his son volunteer to drive ambulances for the british just before he shipped out november, 1941, norman sent him a letter. g in a cruel and ugly world you made -- a chosin with this for you i'm sure the best possible course. more than i can tell you we will be missing you and loving you and wishing for the external good fortune and still more for the courage and hope which may sustain you. despite the follies and the madness of men made for better things than constantaw exploitation and ever occurringó war. will be happy and as always to carry a watch until you return to claim it.
6:40pm
evan thomas ii was my grandfather and i have that watch now. it's a reminder of more than a father's love for his family and any other family to fight for freedom it's a reminder that the conscience was not the nation it was his own. >> the book is conscience, louisa thomas, thank you. [applause] >> now we have instructions you must follow conscientiously. >> if people have questions they can come right up here for them. >> this gentleman has been taking notes. that's never a good sign. >> can you talk about norman's inspiration by the work of john reid?
6:41pm
>> well, john reid -- in socialism of 1918, john reid, something we haven't mentioned there was a russian revolution that happened in 1917, and johnó reed, like many liberals across the world was hugely inspired by this. norman was, too. so was walter lippmann and so was woodrow wilson. and the war address he said basically russia will be asked to test before democracy. i think norman was not kind of jazz inspired by the utility in a project as john was courted and to consider himself a marxist and when he applied for the socialist party he wrote a
6:42pm
long letter explaining why he was really kind of not totally for the socialist party. >> and there you have the success. >> non-partisan lee and i fear that the socialist party isn't always affecting civil liberties and not a marxist and, you know, i really fear any state whether capitalistic or socialistic that claims to have any control with over the - he sent this letter off and was returned to him because he hadn't. so, i think that he -- i actually -- if he knew john reid, i don't know, at this point in time, but certainly he knew people like matt, other
6:43pm
socialists or scott, other people who were kind of part of that circle. his story is tragic in its own way and because of norman's story was different, followed a different path. >> to what extent the slaughter going on in europe the past three years especially for evin who had been over in scotland, what influence he and norman fought as opposed to what ralf and arthur -- >> it was huge. i mean, world war i was just unbelievable. i mean, 1.8 million germans, 1.7 million russians, 1.4 million frenchmen, just the
6:44pm
deaf even in the u.s., you know, the u.s. lost about 50,000, but really the fighting only lasted for six months. they were losing 820 men a day. that's just unbelievable. you know, evan was over in scotland, and then also and london a little bit, and she saw what it was like to see men come home without limbs and things like that, and also what it was like to be in london when the bombs were falling, but every man response to violence and every culture responds in different ways, he was actually wounded on the western front and recuperated in these hospitals, but he remained proud of what he had done and father was the
6:45pm
right thing until the end of the war she was disillusioned, so i think that and they were well aware of how devastating the violence was but i don't find predictably drove them when we or another. but the extremity of the violence is one of the reasons why they thought they had to be fighting for something greater and that was true in every country and one of the reasons it had to be -- it would only be a just war and the life of the war would only be justified if something so great could emerge and that's one of the reasons why it was hard to give it up. it's just appalling. >> anything else?
6:46pm
>> i'm curious how much the war was in imagination of the brothers especially given thed fact that their mother was as you said in south as i'm assuming whether or not her own parents were abolitionist or not but if these brothers and this was the need in the 40's and should these the northern eletes involved in like protestant ideas of morality within the protestant church that they would have been the robert gould shaw like leading to brigade in certain ways so if this much violence is reflect the higher moral cause like emancipation they don't see that in world war i. do they talk about the civil war that might have been worth it is it in their consciousness at all? >> that pacifist movement that we were involved and they drew heavily on the example of the ocean us to eradicate the war
6:47pm
that slavery had once been eradicated and people said that reform will be gradual and in possible whatever know, look, this happens. the war can be eradicated and it's a kind of slavery in its own way. and they saw themselves as the inheritors of that tradition. the civil war is interesting because it is only a generation or two away in this time i get scene he had been in the civil war and said i have seen the war. we cannot go to war, but i think there are other certain historians who would say every generation fights its own war
6:48pm
anything else? again, think you. the book is conscience. [applause] to read this event was hosted by the tenet museum in new york city. to find out more, visit tenenment.org. the name of the book >> the author is university of chicago professor cathy coen. is there an alienation between black youth of today and the older black generations? >> welcome i think there's a generational divide to say the
6:49pm
least. we've heard it for example in the words of bill cosby who at times has ranted against parts of the generation for not doing what he perceives to be kind of the respectable right thing to do to succeed in society. there is a concern we often hear from older members of black generations about flexible even rap music so i think that there's a kind of fundamental divide that sometimes happens across generations. i think the concern here when we talk about the black communities is often a young black people feel alienated from the larger dominant or white society and so we assume there is a kind of support system that happens within the communities and when there's a defied even within black communities there's greater concern about where they will find support and where they will for a sick and who they will understand to be their community. >> but that aside from the larger white community as you say is nothing new is it?
6:50pm
>> it's not new but i think it is substantial. for example, given the kind of post civil-rights movement many people felt this would be a point we would see increased tolerance where the racial divide would shrink and people point to the election of president obama as a post racial moment but actually the data in the book suggests there's a significant racial divide between flexible young blacks and whites when we ask a question like do you believe racism is a major problem in this country 69% of young black people said yes, for 32 cities and about 51% of young latinos say yes so even though the fight within their generation is substantial and suggests racism and race will continue to be a point of division among even younger generation, young people as they move through. >> he mentioned the the the in the book. what is the wakulla project?
6:51pm
>> a started out as a major research project meant to highlight the voices of young black people and people generally. we engage in a national representative survey and follow-up with focus groups in and around chicago and in-depth interviews with individuals we answered the survey so we were looking for a representative sample to talk about what's happening in the country but we also want specifics and stories the were generated through the interviews we conducted. >> in your book you talk about the obama affect. >> as i stated there's a number of things we want to pay attention to. first is what the election of president obama met for people in the country, and i think for many it did signify a change in the trajectory when we think about racism. many people say young blacks in particular have no excuse for not succeeding and the data
6:52pm
suggests while they are very excited about the election of president obama art realistic and its impact of its lives and the talk about the fact they still expect to be harassed by the police and we know that in the obama years they suffer from the highest unemployment. we know in the obama years public education hasn't been solved and they often receive a poor education, so the idea that in fact president obama or the election as president overall would rid the country of these bills in place for a very long time was at best i would say at my ease. >> i want to read from your book expand on it, candidates obama completed on a white house inner city kids don't know how to dress for the job. below is obama's response as reported in the washington post.
6:53pm
pull up your pants, obama interjected as the crowd laughed. >> so that's the other part of the obama affect which is i don't doubt at all he has great concern for all the young people in this country, however he has tended at times to be -- i wouldn't say a demeaning but fall into line much like bill cosby to see that young black people have not kind of played by the rules that would allow them to succeed. in this case is attracting that because they wear their pants low or sagging that the exhibit the kind of cultural attributes that would suggest that that's the reason why in fact they are unemployed or the reason they are not succeeding socially. i'd like to think we could have a broad analysis and discussion about where young black people exist in this country, how the figure into our political
6:54pm
community, are the full members, are they taking on the brunt of the crisis that face the country? and really what are the real solutions to that? part of it may be pulling up their pants but we want them to pull up their pants so they have living wage jobs they can receive. we want them to have a full education. we want them to have college because it's affordable and accessible, so beyond pulling at your pants - president obama has to also be engaged in a policy agenda that will lead against those who are most marginal in the country. >> would that be in your book? >> would speak to the things young black people talk about in the interviews. one of the amazing things is they have very american goals. they want a great education for themselves and their children. they want communities that absent violence and their kids can play outside. they want housing that if they can afford. they want basic services like a
6:55pm
grocery stores that provide all the options for themselves and their families, so the agenda of what look like a pretty traditional for most people american politics agenda about making sure those who are most marginal have access to equal the, to success, to the most basic things we have said are needed in fact for people to fulfill their missions and destinies. it's not a radical agenda for the any means. >> jury professor of political science at the university chicago. did you include that example in the book democracy remixed the cause was a day moment? >> i talked about this. we've remembered i was going to say dhaka's be, but bill clinton some people would say attacked sister soldier and the naacp really to show to the country that he could reprimand the community and distance himself from reverend jesse jackson.
6:56pm
i suggest now on the black politicians engage in a kind of bill cosby moment, especially if they have ambitions for national office. they have to show the country that they are not beholden to black communities and often that means engaging in a little reprimanded of black people often the black poor, so i would call that his bill cosby moment, and i think if we look at other young black politicians trying to have a position beyond the black community you also find the have moments of reprimanding black communities. >> in democracy remixed first where did the remax come from? >> it comes out of hip-hop culture and does speak to kind of making sure the culture, the voice from the ideas of young black people are first and foremost writing this including in the title. >> is there an important politically to hip-hop culture? >> i think it is. first we have to recognize
6:57pm
hip-hop culture as something created by young black and latino zandt to kind of recognize that and acknowledged that they have this creative ability to influence not only that the country but the world. if you travel anywhere in the world and of the things we know it is about young people listed are listening and engaging in hip-hop but it is a genre that resignation and i think it was president obama's knowledge of hip-hop but allowed him to resonate with young black people. remember the story of what was on his ipod, and we have seen this recently when he invited comment to the white house there is a tension in the country of what this hip-hop represent, who controls it and should in fact the country or the government increase it and i think this president said this is an important genre of a population
6:58pm
that's a central not only to the reelection but the governing and he's going to promote hip-hop. >> was there a huge or big increase in the voter participation especially among the black youth of america and 08? >> one of the things i talk about is one of the reasons the center young blacks is it does i think make us question of our assumptions. one assumption is that young people are not interested in politics, that's how we can explain the low turnout but actually, in 2004 and 2008 we saw a significant increase in the number of young voters coming to the polls. in 2004, there was an increase among whites and latinos and blacks. what's interesting is until 2008 the increase in the youth vote came from black and latino youth so we salles a shift who young whites voted for. many more voted for democrats than they did in the past but there was no increase in the number of white youth voters.
6:59pm
there was an increase in the number of black youths voters and latino young u.s. voters. we talk about the outpouring of support for president obama in 2008. a lot of that came from younger black voters. if we center young black people and analysis of politics it can make us question assumptions such as young people are not political. senate what's the take away on the future of american politics? >> that take away is we can't understand and prepare for the future of politics unless we understand those who are most marginal and excluded from the political discourse and in this case i want to suggest we ought to center young people when we think about policies and politics and the future of american politics. without doing that we are going to go down a misguided half and make mistakes we don't need to make. >> here is the book democracy remixed, black youth and

Terms of Use (10 Mar 2001)